Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Document Type



By finding broader temporal and spatial patterns of brain activity, dictionary learning and sparse coding techniques circumvent the constraints of typical voxel-level studies of task-based functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data. Prior applications of these algorithms to task-related fMRI data, on the other hand, have not been tuned to simultaneously uncover temporal patterns of activity that change in tandem with changes in task circumstances and spatial patterns that exploit existing neuroscience knowledge. This work, presents a sparse dictionary learning method that decomposes fMRI data into temporal patterns of signals that loosely differ between task conditions and sparse spatial patterns that are at least partially similar to known functional network hubs, based on prior knowledge of the temporal pattern of task conditions and the locations of brain regions hypothesized to be involved in the task. To over come the a major drawback of the prior work in terms being constrained to provide an equal number of spatial and temporal patterns, even when the data was more accurately represented by a larger number spatial than temporal patterns (or vice versa), this work also propose a constrained decoupled dictionary learning method that uses prior knowledge related to task paradigms and the spatial locations of task-related brain regions to estimate decoupled spatial and temporal patterns that represent the fMRI data. The utility of sparse dictionary learning methods applied to task fMRI data is increased by simultaneously exploiting the task's known temporal structure and biasing solutions towards putative network hubs. The method identifies a high percentage of the spatial and temporal patterns programmed into simulated fMRI data. The temporal and spatial patterns are identified using an effective on-line optimization methodology. The technique detects geographical and temporal patterns in synthetic task fMRI data. When applied to two real-world fMRI data sets, the method: 1. automatically identifies temporal and spatial patterns that were known by neuroscientists to be task-related a priori but were not provided as inputs to the method; 2. provides measurements that differ significantly between differing tasks. When applied to real fMRI data from 100 participants two different studies, the suggested method also identifies geographic regions known a priori to be engaged by the Attention Network Task (ANT), AX-Continuous Performance Task (AX-CPT) and Stroop Task more thoroughly than competing methods. Using task information to partially constrain dictionary learning allowed this method to identify task related networks in real and synthetic fMRI data.



Committee Chair

Xu, Jian

Available for download on Monday, December 17, 2029